Flash Mob Disrupts St. Louis Symphony

I came across this story online today, but not from as many websites as I thought I would.   Sometimes news that outrages the country tends to fizzle out before a resolution.  I’m not sure in the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri fits that comment, but when I Google the story I don’t get a whole lot of results.  Information was received from the St. Louis Today stltoday.com website and the YouTube video posted below.  

A flash mob disrupted the St. Louis Symphony performance on Saturday, October 4, 2014.  Prior to the start of the performance after the intermission, two people stood up in the audience and began singing “Which Side Are You On”.   While approximately 50 more joined in from all points in the concert hall for a 5 minute “Requiem for Michael Brown”, YouTube shows videos of concert-goers being both mortified at what was going on as well as those who were clapping in support.

One thing that I noticed was how empty the Symphony was in St. Louis.  There were so many vacant seats, and there was more after the flash mobbers left.  

One quote from the YouTube story said, “Many of us are artists ourselves, so we were very cognizant to not interrupt the performance after it had already began,” Vega said. “But we still wanted it to be a disruption that left people with a seed of thought.”

The brief moments that the video camera pans to the orchestra makes it hard to tell what their reaction is.  The Conductor stands patiently with his hands in front of him.  The controversy from the comments I’ve read about it comes at the 1:14 min point in the video when a woman in the audience looks like she has just witnessed a beheading.  

I’m not sure how I feel about the flash mob.  Milwaukee is also dealing with as Milwaukee is also dealing with a police involved shooting death of a black man named Dontre Hamilton.  It makes you stop and think that something like this could just as well happened here too.  (Imagine what impact it would have made if it did happen in Milwaukee on Oct 4th when John Williams was at the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra).  

It does make you think if their performance was significant enough to help their cause.  That’s the question that I have trouble answering because if I were in that situation, I probably would have been a little irked at their disruption.  However, I’m all for pounding the pavement and trying to make a difference.  

Watch the video below and decide for yourself.

 

 

John Williams

You don’t have to be a classical music lover to be able to identify famous music masterpieces. Sometimes all you have to do is go to the movies (or watch Bugs Bunny cartoons).   It is the outlet that exposes the majority of the population to this genre of music.
In my lifetime I don’t think there will be any greater composer of film scores than John Williams.  

I was lucky enough to be able to see him conduct the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra last Saturday night.  The concert was so popular that it sold out within 4 hours of tickets going on sale. Yeah…..I missed the boat and didn’t get a ticket.  Its not like you can go and find classical music ticket scalpers that easy.

Friday, one hour before the box office closed, I saw a post on facebook that 30 seats had been released and were available til 5pm.  I crossed my fingers and dialed the phone.  Success! !  I got a seat in the 2nd row.  That’s a lot closer than I’m used to sitting.  It feels like you are sitting at the feet of the musicians.  However I think it was a better deal that I missed out and got in on the extra sale because I figure I probably would have been in the balcony so far back that you cant see a thing and it feels like you’re just listening to loud music.  So sitting I the 2nd row was a blessing in disguise.  I could really see him conducting and commanding the notes to flow from the instruments the way that he wanted them to.

Its hard to pick a popular movie without John Williams putting his musical mark on it.   According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article, John Williams wrote the film scores for all but one of Steven Spielberg’s movies.  How exclusive !

The listing of songs, was not initially what I had thought it would be.  I was not complaining though as the number of film scores he wrote is more than I can count.  It must be difficult to decide what to play from city to city.   I made a list of movies that I have seen, but this is not even half of what he has done.  

  1. The Towering Inferno
  2. Jaws 1 & 2
  3. Star Wars  (all 6 and including the next in the series #7)
  4. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  5. Superman
  6. All the Indiana Jones Movies
  7. E.T.
  8. Space Camp
  9. Hook
  10. Jurassic Park
  11. Schindler’s List
  12. Saving Private Ryan
  13. Fiddler on the Roof
  14. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban
  15. Catch Me If You Can
  16. Lincoln
  17. The Book Thief

This is what Saturday’s line up actually contained. 

 

 

John Williams 1

Normally, during the concert I’ll watch my favorite musicians.  But this time I couldn’t see many of them so I just kept on watching John Williams.   He didn’t spend a lot of time talking to the audience, but when he did he had witty anecdotes such as when Steven Spielberg and he watched Schindler’s List together.  Williams said to Spielberg after a quiet moment alone that he deserved a better composer for such a compelling film.  Spielberg agreed…. and then added, that anyone better (than Williams) was dead. 

It’s different to hear film scores as opposed to going to hear a regular symphony.  My mind wanders all over at regular symphonic concerts.  I think that’s what makes classical music so appealing to me is because I can take a walk through my mind and day dream for 2 hours.  But with the film scores, my mind becomes the movie screen and once again I’m a little kid at the theater watching (and crying) through E.T. or I’m running along side Dr. Jones trying to escape the gigantic boulder.  

He came out for 2 encores.  First he played a song he composed called With Malice Towards None from the film Lincoln and it was at that time that he played his most popular themes- The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme) and Indiana Jones.   It was fantastically amazing.  I’ve heard the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra play these before, but to hear it come from the man whose mind created these songs was indescribable.  

I will not soon forget this concert.  It’s hard to say it tops seeing Itzhak Perlman play, or hearing my favorite symphony “The Rite of Spring” live because those experiences are all so different compared to going specifically to see a composer conducting.  All I know is that I haven’t stopped talking about it since that night.  

What I didn’t expect was to see the Stage Door outside barricaded.  There were dozens of fans, and more arriving as I was leaving, standing outside waiting to see him.  Most were holding Star Wars memorabilia.  I tried to imagine if this is what it would have been like during Mozart’s time with people scrambling to get seats to see him.  

John Williams is 82 years old.  His full biography, discography and compositions can be found at this link.

 

 

John Williams 2

My First Office Job

A few days ago a friend of mine passed away and her memorial service was Friday.  It was really sad to see her two young children saying goodbye to their mom when just a few years prior it was their father who passed.  Both were my friends and former co-workers.  The husband, whom I first became friends with at Walmart  introduced me to his wife.  It was just about the time that I was graduating from college with my Paralegal degree.  She was working at a small law firm and thought perhaps I may also be able to get a job there.  So she set up an interview with one of the attorneys – and subsequently I started my career as a professional office worker.

My first office was in their tiny, walk-in-closet sized kitchen.  There was a small oval table with 2 chairs.  On one wall was the microwave, mini fridge, coffee maker.  That’s where I sat, wearing my fancy pants and having to scoot my chair in every time someone wanted to retrieve something.   I didn’t have any desk drawers, or places to keep anything.  We weren’t a poor office, it’s just that I don’t think it was really set up for me to work there.

glojek office 1

My first office – 2003

glojek office 2

2003 – my first desk and piles of work waiting for me me to complete

glojek

The outside of the law firm (left side)

Looking back on that job, I can see that college does not prepare you enough for starting in an office.  Sure they tell you all about how to look up laws and what the laws are, what the procedures in court are, and a bunch of fancy words and definitions.  In my opinion they don’t do enough to help prepare you on how to function in an office environment.  My prior jobs were totally different.  From my teenage years I was employed as a dog babysitter, a laundromat cleaner and a waitress.  It was a giant leap for me to transition into an office environment.

I was scared, but having my friend there made it so much easier.  She taught me a lot about filing, organization, and phone etiquette…. the basic things that are necessary to work as a legal secretary.  I made a lot of mistakes along the way.  I am not exactly proud of my work there, but people have to start somewhere.  I wonder how long I would have lasted if the attorney I was working for hadn’t left the firm, thus forcing my exit not long after.  Even if I had been there longer than the 8 months I was, I wouldn’t have made it anywhere else if it weren’t for the good heart, and generous kind nature of my two friends.  They were also instrumental in my getting my next big job at City Hall.  May you both rest in eternal peace.

GI Jive- Louis Jordan

Louis Jordan is my favorite Jazz singer.  I was thinking about him today and one of my favorite songs.

GI Jive

This is the G. I. Jive

Man alive
It starts with the bugler blowin’ reveille over your bed when you arrive
Jack, that’s the G. I. Jive

Roodley-toot
Jump in your suit
Make a salute
Boot!!

After you wash and dress
More or less
You go get your breakfast in a beautiful little caf they call “The Mess”
Jack, when you convalesce

Outta your seat
Into the street
Make with the feet
Reet!!

If you’re a P-V-T, your duty
Is to salute to L-I-E-U-T
But if you brush the L-I-E-U-T
The M-P makes you K-P on the Q-T

This is the G. I. Jive
Man alive
They give you a private tank that features a little device called “fluid drive”
Hey Jack, after you revive

Chuck all your junk
Back in the trunk
Fall on your bunk
Clunk!!

This is the G. I. Jive
Man alive
They give you a private tank that features a little device called “fluid drive”
Hey Jack, after you still survive
Chuck all your junk
Back in the trunk
Fall on your bunk
Clunk!!

9/11 at the White House

We’re just a few days past the 13th anniversary of 9/11, like many people, I can’t believe it’s been that long.

I was at home in bed when the first plane hit the twin towers.  I was in college and off of school that day.  My mom came running up stairs to my room telling me that New York was under attack.  In my groggy, just woken from slumber state, I remember thinking that it was too early for a baseball game.  My brain processed my mom’s message in baseball terms of them losing pretty bad.

I went downstairs to the living room and watched the endless replay of the impacts as well as the following crashes.  It was pre-cell phone era still in our household so we couldn’t get a hold of my sister who was out running her errands.  Not knowing what was going to happen next, mom and I decided to go gas up our cars and go to the grocery store for some essentials.  We managed to go to the filling station before they decided to sell a gallon of gas above $8.  (Luckily that only lasted for a little while before they were ordered to lower the prices).

I remember I didn’t feel safe until I saw President Bush speaking on TV that night.  There was one speech that I saw, he wasn’t in the Oval Office, but standing at a skinny podium somewhere.  I remember so vividly seeing him crying.

This is just a brief account of my 9/11 memories.  What I wanted to write about for this Sentimental Sunday post, was my 9/11/2006 experience.

September 2006 I was a White House Intern.  It was only our 2nd week so everything was still new to me.  I was used to security, but I guess I wasn’t prepared for an all out blockage of Pennsylvania Ave.  Normally I got off the subway from my apartment at the McPherson Square stop and walked through Lafayette Square park to get to the office.  But that day, I was not allowed to exit the park, even though all I had to do was cross the street and I was there.  I had left early enough because there was to be a special 9/11 ceremony on the South Lawn……. but not early enough for a detour.   I had to go all the way out of my way just to arrive at the same destination.  Being that I wasn’t used to wearing these fancy dress shoes it took me a long time.

So after going through regular security and getting to my office….the interns had already left for the ceremony.  I was upset, but sat at my desk, ready to work.  I sat in the room with my two immediate supervisors.  I was asked why I wasn’t at the ceremony and I explained my dilemma.  One of my supervisors told me I could go with him and he escorted me to the South Lawn of the White House.  I was given a flag pin to wear on my suit lapel. 

He and I stepped out onto the lawn and found a office co-worker and stood by her.  The lawn was divided into two rows.  I could see from the colored badges that all of the interns were on one side of the grass, and I was on the opposite side with the cabinet and upper level staff members.  I closed my coat around my badge so no one else could see who I was.

I didn’t know what the ceremony was going to entail.  I hadn’t seen the President yet, so I was kind of hoping that he would be there.  If I had been thinking intelligently, obviously he was going to be at other commemorative events in New York and such.  

I was in a state of awe like I had never been before in my life, when the doors opened and I saw who was being escorted by Vice President Cheney.  It was former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.  Oh My God !  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  Here is a photo from that morning.  You can’t see me in the picture, but I am standing behind the woman in white on the upper left hand corner of the picture.  In the background you see the soldiers holding the flags, and the one on the left has a rifle.  To the left of him is the woman in white and I am behind her.  

The tragedy of 9/11 will never be forgotten, and neither will this event I attended to honor those who were lost during the terror attacks.  

This photo is from the White House website which is now in archive status but still accessible here. White House Archive Web Site      

Vice President Dick Cheney and Lynne Cheney stand with former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Great Britain for a moment of silence on the South Lawn September 11, 2006, to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks. White House photo by Shealah Craighead

Water on Mars – ShyBoy

I don’t keep up with much popular music.  It usually happens that someone gives me a song or cd to introduce me to it and I like it that way, but I don’t listen on a regular basis, so I’ll admit that I don’t know what’s hot, whose it, etc. 

I was listening to some Bob Crane on Soundcloud so maybe that’s why they had suggested a song called Marion Crane (similar name- also a good song inspired by Alfred Hitchcock).  Well because of that suggestion, I found a new artist that I like.  His name is ShyBoy and his debut album Water on Mars was released in late 2013.  Water on Mars is one of my favorite songs.  Here are the lyrics (as interpreted by me) and below is a YouTube video. 

Water On Mars by ShyBoy.

Written by Jason Arnold, Wendy Waldman, Abe Parker & Mark Nubar

Gotta get out 
But there’s nowhere to go
 
At least on this earth
 
Nothing left for me to know
 
They found water on mars
 
Tell em I’m here & I’m ready to go

I’ll leave here today 
I’ll fly away

Blast me off on a rocket 
Let me sail into space
 
Take me away
 
Let me start a brand new day
 
Away from the hatred
 
And the greed
 
And the violence
 
They all seem to need
 
Blast me off on a rocket
 
My new life awaits

A brand new start 
If there’s water on mars
 
There’s more life than this
 
Out there in the infinite dark
 
A new life in space
 
Beyond the moon & the stars

I’ll fly away 
I’ll leave here today
 
I’ll find my way

Leave all the noise on the streets 
And the killing disease
 
With the kids & thier guns
 
The unfortunate ones
 
All the sadness & pain
 
Never see them again
 
All I want is a new place to be

Take me away 
I want sail into space
 
I’ll fly away
 
Start a brand new day
 
Away from the voices
 
In my head
 
Away from the life
 
I lead
 
Blast me off on a rocket
 
My new life awaits

I’m leaving today 
My new life awaits